Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Rebecca Yarros Interview - The Things We Leave Unfinished

Photo Credit: Katie Marie Seniors

Rebecca Yarros is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of over fifteen novels, including Great and Precious Things and The Last Letter. “A gifted storyteller” (Kirkus), she is also the recipient of the Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence for Eyes Turned Skyward from her Flight and Glory series.

Rebecca loves military heroes and has been blissfully married to hers for almost twenty years. She’s the mother of six children, ranging from kindergarten to law school, and is currently surviving the teenage years with three of her four hockey-playing sons. When she’s not writing, you can find her at the hockey rink or sneaking in some guitar time while guzzling coffee. She and her family live in Colorado with their stubborn English bulldogs, two feisty chinchillas, and a Maine Coon kitten named Artemis, who rules them all.

Having fostered then adopted their youngest daughter who is nonverbal and on the autism spectrum, Rebecca is passionate about helping children in the foster system through her nonprofit, One October, which she co-founded with her husband in 2019. To learn more about their mission to better the lives of kids in foster care, visit www.oneoctober.org.

To catch up on Rebecca’s latest releases and upcoming novels, including The Things We Leave Unfinished, which just received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, visit www.RebeccaYarros.com.


Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born in Washington D.C., but as an army brat, we moved all over the world until my parents retired and settled us in Colorado. After moving all over the world with my husband, who just retired from 22 years of military service, we’re back home in Colorado for retirement!

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Hmmm… probably the moment my kids saw one of my books in Walmart. It makes all the long hours so worth it for them to see that they can make their dreams come true, too.

What inspired you to pen your first novel?
My husband was on his third deployment, that time to Afghanistan, and I’d been reading a book a day to pass the nights, so I decided to write my own. It took me a year, but I finished before he came home!

Tell us your latest news.
The Things We Leave Unfinished just sold to my Dutch publisher, Zomer & Keuning!

Can you tell us when you started THE THINGS WE LEAVE UNFINISHED, how that came about?
When I watched Sanditon on Masterpiece Theater, I was flabbergasted that they ended season one on a cliffhanger, and couldn’t stop thinking, “You don’t do Jane Austen like that!” And boom, I started thinking about The Things We Leave Unfinished.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
More than anything, I hope they get the escape of a romance, while seeing just how many different types of love shape our lives.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating characters?
Scarlett and Constance were revelations to me when I read and researched all that the women of the W.A.A.F. went through. Talk about a generation of strong women!

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Probably Jagger from my Flight and Glory series and Jameson from The Things We Leave Unfinished since they both just came to life as versions of my husband.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
The pandemic has been wicked hard on our family. We have a high risk kiddo, which means we’ve been pretty darn isolated, so it’s been super hard to juggle the needs of my kiddos with deadlines.

  • 1. Always write at the same time every day. It’s muscle memory. Seriously.
  • 2. Turn off all your social media. Facebook is not your friend.
  • 3. Listen to music. Man, I can’t even say how many times a lyric or melody has sent my brain down the plot path.
  • 4. Get everything you need before you sit down. Coffee, water, snacks, whatever.
  • 5. Write down all your “this world,” concerns on a pad of paper next to your desk then empty your head to make room for the story.
  • 6. Read. I can’t stress that enough. If you aren’t reading, you’re just depleting your creative well and falling behind the market.
  • 7. Diffuser. I like to diffuse oils in my office, and I swear the second I catch a hint of citrus, my mind turns on to writing.
  • 8. Rest when you need to. You can’t write from an empty well.
  • 9. Let your mind wander…before you sit down. My best plot ideas come when I’m gardening or keeping my hands busy while my mind has time to play.
  • 10. Don’t wander too far from the keys. The longer you go without writing, the harder it can be to fall back into it.
  • 1. I was inspired by Sanditon, the unfinished novel by Jane Austen.
  • 2. I think it took longer to research the WWII portions of the novel than to write them, lol!
  • 3. When I dreamed up Jameson, the American fighter pilot with the RAF, I fell hard for all of his qualities, even his stubbornness. Then I turned around and realized I’d pretty much stuck my helicopter pilot husband into the book subconsciously. No wonder I love Jameson!
  • 4. I wrote the book out of chronological order, which was a first for me. Once the first ten chapters were written, I finished the WWII portion of the book, then went back and wrote the contemporary so I could stay firmly grounded in each world.
  • 5. This is my favorite book I’ve ever written. Ever.
  • 6. The story felt too big at one point, and I remember calling one of my best friends, Gina Maxwell, and asking her if she really thought I was capable of pulling it off. We all need those kinds of friends in our lives.
  • 7. Writing this book turned me into a vampire. I was writing from seven p.m. until eight or nine a.m. every night for MONTHS.
  • 8. Poplar Grove doesn’t exist in Colorado, it’s actually in Illinois, where my grandfather grew up.
  • 9. Both of my grandfathers served in WWII, and one was a POW in Nazi Germany, so this book was exceptionally personal to me.
  • 10. The scene in the book store where Georgia and Noah meet is my favorite meet cute EVER.
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Foster a child. We were foster parents for two years before adopting our daughter and it opened our eyes in every possible way.

Best date you've ever had?
When I told my husband we hadn’t had a date night in a year (thanks, Covid…), he bought out the biggest theater in Colorado Springs for just the two of us and had them play Pride and Prejudice. I just about DIED. Yes, I swooned, and laughed, and kissed him a bunch!

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
I would go back to the moment outside the airport when my husband came home wounded from Iraq in 2003. The relief of having him in my arms after being notified that he’d been seriously wounded is something I can’t capture in words. Was it tough? Absolutely, but it was one of the most poignant and happiest moments of my life.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
I wondered when I’d get more wrinkles! I was just diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes about two weeks ago, which means I have a genetic mutation that results in a dysfunction in the way my body produces/makes collagen, and while my joints dislocate easily, my skin doesn’t wrinkle on the same timeline.

Which incident in your life totally changed the way you think today?
Fostering and adopting our daughter. There are so many kids out there that need help.

First Heartbreak?
Holy painful experience. It shaped me and put cracks into my foundation that I swear my husband is still sealing up twenty years later. But it also taught me what I want, need, and deserve in a partner, and my husband is every ounce of that man and more.

What is your most memorable travel experience?
My husband and I saved for YEARS and took an eighteen-day Mediterranean cruise for our ten year anniversary that happened to fall between his deployments to Afghanistan. We even renewed our vows on a little sailboat off the coast of Capri!

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
True love with a guarantee of heartbreak. Always.

Where can readers find you?
When I’m not at the hockey rink watching my sons play, I’m on social media!

Twenty-eight-year-old Georgia Stanton has to start over after she gave up almost everything in a brutal divorce—the New York house, the friends, and her pride. Now back home at her late great-grandmother’s estate in Colorado, she finds herself face-to-face with Noah Harrison, the bestselling author of a million books where the cover is always people nearly kissing. He’s just as arrogant in person as in interviews, and she’ll be damned if the good-looking writer of love stories thinks he’s the one to finish her grandmother’s final novel…even if the publisher swears he’s the perfect fit.

Noah is at the pinnacle of his career. With book and movie deals galore, there isn’t much the “golden boy” of modern fiction hasn’t accomplished. But he can’t walk away from what might be the best book of the century—the one his idol, Scarlett Stanton, left unfinished. Coming up with a fitting ending for the legendary author is one thing, but dealing with her beautiful, stubborn, cynical great-granddaughter, Georgia, is quite another.

But as they read Scarlett’s words in both the manuscript and her box of letters, they start to realize why Scarlett never finished the book—it’s based on her real-life romance with a World War II pilot, and the ending isn’t a happy one. Georgia knows all too well that love never works out, and while the chemistry and connection between her and Noah is undeniable, she’s as determined as ever to learn from her great-grandmother’s mistakes—even if it means destroying Noah’s career.

Told in alternating timelines, THE THINGS WE LEAVE UNFINISHED examines the risks we take for love, the scars too deep to heal, and the endings we can’t bring ourselves to see coming.

You can purchase The Things We Leave Unfinished at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you REBECCA YARROS for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Things We Leave Unfinished by Rebecca Yarros.